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Will Robertson wrote:
> The way that LaTeX font size selecting works is more complicated than just
> setting the document body font to, say, 11pt. Rather, all of the sizes
> from \tiny to \Huge are adjusted, and even the margins of the document
> adjust to compensate for the difference in size. When fonts had to be
> selected in fixed sizes, doing this process for more than a few sizes
> (10,11,12pt) was not feasible.
>
> Nowadays, of course, things are different. It is not inconceivable to
> imagine a document class where the \textwidth is calculated from the
> alphabet length of the body font, \small is 0.85*\normalsize, \large is
> 1.2*\normalsize, etc. etc. Whether this is a reasonable interface remains
> to be seen (I think it would probably work -- please discuss!).
>
> Note that something like this is currently possible if you use the
> fontspec package in XeLaTeX or LuaLaTeX. Fonts there can be selected with
> arbitrary scaling values (via LaTeX's scaling mechanism in the NFSS's .fd
> files), so if you write
>
> \documentclass{11pt}
> \usepackage{fontspec}
>
> then this is roughly equivalent to selecting an 11.5pt body font. (Of
> course, margins will still need to be adjusted to suit.)
>
> * * *
>
> The LaTeX3 project has not really started discuss such high-level aspects
> for creating modular document interface elements. If you're interested,
> take a look at the xtemplate package on CTAN or the LaTeX3 SVN code.

Every time when I'm designing a book I have to fight with low level LaTeX
because numerous lengths are hidden inside standard class files and even
latex.ltx. It is killing from a designer's view, e.g., to change all
measurement to didot points instead of American points. Insofar high-level
aspects are important for program designers (or how should I call you?) too.
A programmer designing a typesetting system should be aware of typesetters
needs.

Best regards
Ulrich Dirr